Gulf-backed Air Serbia to receive first jet in Oct

Balkan airline also set to launch new destinations including Abu Dhabi
By Daniel Shane
Tue 27 Aug 2013 11:09 AM

Air Serbia, in which Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways recently acquired a 49 percent stake, will receive its first of ten new aircraft on October 27, it was reported.

Air Serbia will also introduce new destinations including Abu Dhabi, Melbourne, Sydney and Chicago, daily newspaper Novosti said.

Etihad bought into the airline, formerly known as JAT, this month as part of a $200m plan to revitalise the ailing, government-backed airline. As part of that deal, Air Serbia plans to retire much of its current fleet and replace it with a combination of leased and new aircraft.

In a debate in the Serbian parliament on Monday, first deputy minister Aleksander Vucic said that deliveries of new aircraft are due to start in October, with the rest coming online throughout next year.

Air Serbia is Etihad’s sixth equity partner, it also owns 29.21 percent of Germany’s airberlin, 40 percent of Air Seychelles, 10.5 percent of Virgin Australia, 2.99 percent of Irish carrier Aer Lingus and 24 percent of India’s Jet Airways.

The investment by Etihad is part of wider investment in the European country by the UAE. Earlier this year, the Gulf state made the largest investment in Serbia in more than 30 years, potentially helping to lift the Balkans state out of a deep recession.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.